Did Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation free all black people or only some of them? It is an interesting and intriguing question. Let’s find the answer to it together after reading this article.
America in the 19th century had more than 4 million slaves. They worked at the plantations as you can see it from the books like “Gone with the Wind” or movies dedicated to this issue. Abraham Lincoln believed that all people should be free; however, in the view of the possible aggression from the Union people he did not have enough courage to stop slavery all at once.
What did have courage to do is to sign this amazing executive order which we now know as Emancipation Proclamation. It was signed by him on January 1, 1863, after a few weeks of writing it, changing the text and adding new abstracts. Finally, when Lincoln finished it, he presented his order to his cabinet.
However, this was not the first time he showed his proclamation to people close to him. He first presented it to Secretary of State William Seward, and Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles; however, they expressed their concern about the possible chaos this document
He mentioned that this order is a war measure. The text of the Emancipation Proclamation stated that those slaves that live in the states where rebellion takes place can change their status from “slave” to “free”. They could do that in case they flee their plantation or join the troops.
This way, Lincoln explained to Americans back then, they could get the support of slaves reducing the chances that they would fight against them. This only legally gave freedom to 1 million slaves, as this order was taken into action in ten states.
This document lifted the spirit of black people, no matter they were slaves or free. Those who were slaves to their masters fled their former masters and lined up to join the Union. Lincoln’s strategy worked out very well!
Eventually, it spread to other states too giving freedom to other three million slaves and making a dream of Lincoln of being a nation where everyone is equally free come true. However, this would only happen later.
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Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln freed a great number of slaves, though not all, and became a beginning of a new era in the history of the United States. Since before the Proclamation came into power, the slaves that fled slavery and were found, had to either be returned back to their masters or held as contraband.
Moreover, this decision made by the President Lincoln changed the course of the Civil War. The historians state that the main reason for the war was slavery; with this act the slaves (at least in those 10 states Lincoln referred the Proclamation to) had fewer reasons to fight.
There still were masters that would not let their slaves be free and wanted to keep them. They did not support the whole idea of freeing their free labor force. Time flew, they changed their opinion. And it is hard now to imagine America with slavery.
Interesting fact is that this Emancipation Proclamation was never challenged in the court after the war. All the states ratified this order in the end of 1865 after two-third of the Congress supported the document. It was then that the slavery was put to an end forever.
Abraham Lincoln truly was an excellent strategist and politician. He achieved his main goal of putting a stop to slavery with all the support he needed from his parliament.
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